Integration of navigation systems underway for FAB Gripen
Demonstrating a fine example of technology transfer and collaboration, Brazilian and Swedish engineers together move ahead to integrate Gripen radio navigation systems - VOR (VHF Omnidirecional Range Equipment) and TACAN/DME (Tactical Air Navigation/Distance Measuring Equipment).
This marks an important milestone in the Brazilian Gripen program. The engineers of the two countries have worked together seamlessly, with weekly calls to track progress to reach this stage. The entire integration process will be carried out at the Gripen Design and Development Network (GDDN), located at the Embraer facilities, in Gavião Peixoto, in the state of São Paulo.
A little bit about the navigation systems- VOR uses radio transmissions between a ground transmitter and an instrument in the aircraft to measure the course of an aircraft. The TACAN/DME, on the other hand, serves to measure the distance and the course of the aircraft to a ground or air transmitter. TACAN/DME is a unique feature to Brazilian Air Force’s F-39 Gripen.
As a part of Sweden and Saab’s technology transfer package, Brazilian engineers and technicians have been working closely with their Saab counterparts for more than five years now. They have been sent to Sweden to participate in various work packages which include training, understanding how Gripen works, its various systems, software, avionics, weapons etc. One they complete their training in Sweden, they come back to Brazil and work with their colleagues at GDDN to develop Gripen systems in areas such as vehicle systems, aeronautical engineering, airframe design, systems installation, system integration, avionics, human-machine interface and communications.
“Embraer’s Brazilian engineers have advanced expertise on development of software that is critical for flight and safety. We shared information about the operation of the device with them, so they are able to develop the concept and test it on S-Rig, the first Gripen’s development simulator outside Linköping. After that, we had a meeting to assess whether the work is in compliance with the operational requirements. The Brazilian engineers experience from developing safety critical software, is a big advantage since there is hard to find engineers with this kind of experience in Sweden”, says Andreas Bergström, head of E/F Flight Data & Navigation.
The integration with the VOR should be completed in 2021and that of TACAN by 2023.